Days after the Golden Bears fired Sonny Dykes, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason has surfaced as a candidate for the Cal head coaching job.
On Sunday, after four seasons together, the Golden Bears decided to part ways with now former head coach Sonny Dykes.
Now, it appears Cal could be dipping into the SEC to find Dykes’ replacement. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason has emerged as a potential candidate for the Golden Bears’ head coaching job, according to Bruce Feldman.
In 2016, the Cal defense ranked No. 125 in total defense (518.3 ypg) and No. 127 in scoring defense (42.6 ppg). That could be one reason why Mason’s name has surfaced, as he’s built up a reputation for producing efficient defensive units. Vanderbilt finished this past season ranked No. 64 (408.2 ypg) and No. 35 (24 ppg) in the same respective defensive categories.
Mason also has experience coaching within the Pac-12. In 2010, he joined Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford to coach the Cardinal’s defensive backs. Mason was promoted to associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator the following year before becoming the full-time defensive coordinator in both 2012 and 2013.
There are other names to be considered for the position, though, as Feldman noted that an unknown sitting head coach has also been mentioned for the job. On Tuesday, current Cal offensive coordinator Jake Spavital reportedly interviewed for the job.
Other names to keep an eye on as the Golden Bears continue their search is former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.
UPDATE: Mason addressed the rumor on Wednesday and denied being a candidate, saying, “I’m firmly anchored down in Nashville. Let’s Ride!”